Former Wales manager Mark Hughes has told Gareth Bale to stay at Real Madrid despite the difficulties he’s been facing this in the Spanish capital this season, according to the Daily Star.
The current Stoke boss knows how he feels, of course, having left the relative security of Manchester United during the 80s to head for Barcelona, though he freely admits he went with the wrong attitude.
Hughes endured a tough spell in Catalonia before joining Bayern Munich on loan and finally making a return to Old Trafford a year after.
Bale has come in for some heavy criticism this season, and all eyes will be on him as he prepares to help his side overcome Juventus in the Champions League semi-final on Wednesday night.
Being four points off Barcelona in the La Liga title race, the Champions League represented their last hope of landing some silverware this term.
Bale received more abuse following the first leg defeat to Juve, but Hughes feels he should stick it out in the Spanish capital instead of taking the easy way out and coming home.
“If we’re being honest and he’ll probably be honest with himself, he’d have liked to have affected the game (first-leg) more than he was able to,” said Hughes.
“But you have to factor in the quality of the opposition and realise he was playing an in-form team on the night. They understood the threat he posed and did something about that.
“Sometimes you’ve got to give credit to the opposition for doing a good job on him on the night.
“He’s an outstanding man and an outstanding player. He’s proven that over a long period of time now, both here and in Spain.”
Hughes added: “At the moment he’s coming in for some criticism but that’s par for course at Real Madrid and I’m sure he’s getting used to that.
“I probably went to Barcelona with the wrong attitude. I was saying to myself I’ll go over there for a year, maybe two years and then I’ll get myself back home which was totally the wrong approach.
“Maybe that was the wrong way to go about it. I think Gareth has every intention to stay out there as long as he can and he is right to do so.
“When you get the opportunity to go to a club such as Barcelona or Real Madrid you’ve got to go with the intention that you’re going to try and stay there for as long as you can until they actually kick you out of the door.”
He added: “If you have a good support network, which by all accounts Gareth has over there, I’d say stay as long as you can because you’ll look back and think what a great experience that was.
“It shapes you as a person, as an individual and that shouldn’t be underestimated, in your later years as well.”